There Is A Sickness That Haunts The Western World
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2022-07-31 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Other Voices , 597 references Ignore this thread
There Is A Sickness That Haunts The Western World
[Comments enabled]

As the category says, this is another over the transom.  This author has selected a nom-de-plume -- Benjamin King.  I have edited it very slightly for obvious typos, but have left what is arguably a bit convoluted grammar alone. -- Ed

 

There is a sickness that haunts the western world today.  Foolishness among the medical establishment.  Foolishness in energy and monetary policy.  Foolishness everywhere.  Heroin, fentanyl, meth.  Drug violence in the cities.  Naked men twerking in city streets as children look on.

Just this weekend there was a mass shooting in Illinois.  The accused is an ostensibly troubled youth.  Would-be rapper.  There is as I write, on the front page of Fox News, an article about his unloving parents, a mother who others saw as perhaps seeing him as a “nuisance”.  I am borne of one of those women.  I know the alienation.

Columbine happened my senior year, though I lived nowhere near Columbine, much less Colorado.  My reaction was different from most.  Though no cheerleader of Klebold and Harris, I certainly sympathized, and I understood the alienation.  I was one of those kids who thought he had been bullied; who thought that the popular kids didn’t include me because they didn’t like me.  It was more that they simply did not know me, but I would not discover this for many more years.  I was off to bigger and better things the following year, off to college at school that would likely guarantee me a lucrative career in financial services, an option that for various reasons I never really pursued.  I did wind up in finance but working for companies involved in the provision of goods.

Our country has a preoccupation with mental health, and the way it is administered in this country is awful.  The perpetrator at Highland Park was almost certainly depressed. The bullying of children, and for me there is no doubt that he indeed was, weighs on the soul.  Today in America, we tell that person, shunned by those around him, that there is something wrong with him.  He is angry; Billy Joel’s Angry Young Man wasn’t written for no reason.  The rage is there, under the surface.

The standard procedure for depressed youth is to give antidepressants, SSRIs.  These drugs, as Karl has mentioned many times before, carry a “Black Box Warning” for suicide in those below a certain age.  I do not know if the actual mechanism, but psychiatrists are very careful when prescribing antidepressants to people they suspect may have bipolar disorder, as they can make those people manic.  Manic being a state of elated mood which can predispose those with it to dangerous behavior. 

There is a third, very dangerous, state in bipolar (the name be damned), called the “mixed state”.  This is a state of almost hyper-excited anger.  There is probably no more dangerous mental state in all of mankind.  I suspect that the antidepressants are triggering this in these mass shooters.  They are completely disinhibited from the usual checks on violent behavior.  So, they become violent.

Since the 1980s the prevalence of mental illness in general here has increased.  I think that this is unlikely to be due solely to big pharma’s marketing budget.  There seems to be a bull market in ennui and despair.  In a time of (ostensibly) universal affluence and material plenty, our souls have eroded.  We are unhappy with our lives, and we go to the doctor for a pill.  I am of the opinion that perhaps a hit of weed or a glass of wine and a good book are better cures for the ailments than an antidepressant.  Or a downer when you move too fast.

This illness, this sickness, pervading our society is not something that can be solved by those at the top.  Our problem is a moral ailment.  When I say this, it is not that I think people are smoking too much (I do), drinking too much (check here), or smoking too much weed or what have you.  There are those who overdo those things to no benefit, but these are symptoms of a much larger, much more pernicious problem.  It is not that it is necessarily wrong for a man to dress up as a woman (something I did my freshman year at the request of a couple of cute coeds down the hall, much to the confusion of the rest of the folks living there).

I was born in 1981.  To paraphrase Billy Joel, a Cold War kid in Reagan time.  The education system had not yet been completely co-opted by communists, at least not in the east coast backwoods mountain area I grew up in.  We had the great enemy in the east, and people were cautious of making people dumber than they actually are.  IQs were tested in elementary school, and the bright were selected for special education.  I tested well, well enough to require a trip to the school on a weekend to “solve puzzles” so that they could properly tell how well.

There were about twenty of us who were selected for special treatment.  The fourth and fifth grades put us in a special class of ourselves.  The twenty or so of us came from nearly every background in my Podunk county.  Gym class was still there.  Math was different; it used a special instructional method that was foreign to me (and after two years of it remained so for me; perhaps it went away with good reason).  We read novels written for those of more advanced age, and got lots of library time.  There was even bible study (which parents could opt you out of, but few did).

Off to middle school.  Sixth and seventh grade were largely a repeat of the fourth and fifth, there was some effort to track students, but it was clearly half-assed.  Proper math was taught, mercifully, but by eighth grade I was struggling with algebra.

Note, that for one born in 1981, I would enter sixth grade in roughly 1992.  Same school system, but the enemy had changed and no one knew it.  Perhaps they knew that the great enemy in the East had fallen, but not that it had many years before insinuated it the institutions of American society.  Perhaps, like a child having a father who does not spare the rod, having an enemy who will and can destroy you is good for societies and countries.  Perhaps, even if it does not encourage its moral development, it prevents its moral decay.

The fundamental sickness in our society is a moral deficiency.  It is present in society at all levels, but the vast majority of the guilt of a morally bankrupt society lies not with the average members; it lies with the leaders who brought it on.  Additional guilt belongs to those who stood idly by.  Those who could have done something and did nothing.  The Constitution guarantees a right to silence.  At times, the laws of nature demand an obligation to speak.

Nietzsche, writing around 1882, declared:

“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”

I am certainly no atheist.  I believe in the existence of a supreme being.  I cannot look around this planet and observe all of its beauty and say, “there was no divine intervention here!”  At the same time, I am well aware that I cannot use the bible as a science book, nor can I use it as a history book.  It has its flaws.

Genesis tells us that the God created us in his own image.  I get that is probably true.  But I wonder if we did not also create God?  Children need Fathers, and Fathers need children.  It strikes me as entirely unlikely that the biblical creation story is “true” in the modern sense of what we think is true.  The fact of the matter is that the only objective truth, even today, exists only in mathematics and logic.  Even physics is our best guess, albeit extremely precise and effective guesses.  The smartphone in your pocket and the rocket that sent us to the moon work on entirely different, and incompatible premises.  One would think that there is a single understanding of the ways of the physical world.   For all our looking, we have not found it.  Perhaps it does not exist.  How mysteriously God works!

It is peculiar to me that there is only one letter’s difference between “deprived” and “depraved”.  The former regards the lack of material things; the latter the lack of the moral.  Our nation has such much deprivation in the past; in the allege increase in material wealth of the last hundred years, our deprivation has fallen, yet our depravation has grown. 

What is this depravity?  Certainly, mass shootings, naked men dancing in the street among children, and dogfighting are depraved.  But there is more to it.  It is not only these things, which most would agree should not be done.  What about a banker who lends money to someone he ought well know cannot repay him, but is instead wagering that he will be able to sell that note to someone else before he’s on the hook for the default?  What about teaching nonsense to children?  What about a government making promises it knowingly cannot keep, or issuing bonds that are not issued either for production, infrastructure or national defense?

These are all things that should not be done.  There is more to it than this.  What we have lost are core values.  The more important component of morality is our system of value.  More important than what we choose not to do is what we choose to do, and why.  When we go through our lives, we must consciously think of these matters.  My concern for our society is, who are our heroes?  Those venerated in society must be reflective of our values?  In twenty-first century America, who are those people?  Is it the Kanye’s and the Kardashians?  The Hiltons and the Ritchies (I date myself here)?  Is it the wealth of Wall Street speculators, who earn their living as the banker I mentioned earlier?  What are our shared virtues?  There are none, and such that we share anything remotely like them, they are not virtues.

Nietzsche, writing in the seminal Antichrist, suggests that the primary virtue of his time (he was writing in the latter 1800s) had become pity.  In that work, he describes pity as a terrible virtue, if not the worst.  Pity brings out the worst in those it is meant to help.  Christ, in the gospels, though Nietzsche had already written him off to obsolescence, tells us “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for life.”  The concept is not foreign to Christianity. 

We can see this dynamic at play in American society.  Unhinged immigration from third-world countries.  Not because we need them, but because we feel sorry for them.  The Social welfare payments that have destroyed the white poor in trailer parks and the black poor in ghettoes.  Ayn Rand, in her writing, warned of the dangers of “altruism”.  I read her extensively in college, but I never quite got what she meant.  Today, having just now googled the meaning of the word, I do.  The google definition is: the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.”

The issue with altruism, which I had always lauded as virtue, is not the concern for the well-being of others.  I have always been concerned for the well-being of others, occasionally selflessly, but never with disinterest.  The issue is the disinterest!

During a long period of unemployment, I began attending an Episcopal church in the city near where my parents moved (and I, having lost hope, joined for a time).  I would usually go in early, and walk around the city with a cup of coffee prior to the service starting.  One day, a couple of homeless black men and approached me and asked for money.  It was in that time my policy to categorically refuse to give homeless people money.  Part of that was because someone had told me, and part of it was that if ever I were in that situation I know what I would spend the money on.  I would be no better off with an additional dollar than an additional million.  Easy come, easy go.

They were civil, which surprised me at the first, but eventually I learned that the homeless people one sees on the way to church are a different breed than those you see when you’re leaving the bar at 2:00 am after working up a good reason to go to church in morning.  I am a smoker, and they asked me for a cigarette each.  Of course.  Much like the policy of never giving homeless money (since supplanted), I have a policy of always giving cigarettes to anyone who asks.  No children have ever requested this of me, so I cannot say for certain whether I would ever make an exception to it.  Truth be told, I am not sure I would make that legally required exception.

Regardless, we had a lovely conversation, and they were sort of fixtures in that area of the city, so I began my Sunday mornings having a few cigarettes and a lovely conversation with the two of them.

On the Sunday, the Monday after which I would start a new job (I had been unemployed for fourteen months), I was walking down the street, and a large black man came running up at me.  At first, I was alarmed, but I was quickly able to recognize the person in question as one of the homeless with whom I was on friendly terms.

“Guess what?!?  Guest what?!? [my name]! You’re going to be so proud of me!”

“Well,” said with a curiosity and a smile, “I don’t know, [his name], I suppose you’ll have to tell me!”

“I’m starting a job at such-and-such grocery store bagging groceries tomorrow.  May I ask you a favor?”

“Certainly.”

“Could you give me some money so that I can get a room at the [almost] roach motel and have a shower before I start tomorrow?”

This is when the “never give the homeless money” policy changed.  I emptied my wallet (I don’t carry much cash), but the motel he was staying at was not all that expensive.  I doubt the $40 I gave him would cover it all, but I doubt he had trouble raising the rest.  I do regret not going to an ATM and giving him another $40.  He had given me enough information (prior to me telling him I was starting a new job the following day) that if I wanted, I would be able to turn up at the workplace and verify the truth.  So, I assume he was not scamming me.

It is an experience that haunts me, albeit in a good way, to this day.  What was virtuous in these interactions is not the cigarettes.  It is not the money I gave him for the motel.  I gave them something few others will give those of lower station in life: the time of day.  To call to mind the brilliant Pink Floyd song On the Turning Away, I did not turn away.  The poor need those in higher places (though mine at this time is not much higher) simply to acknowledge them.  Take an interest.  Don’t take moral judgement on them (or at least not say “You’re homeless because you are bad.”) 

Imagine being a person, a poor white or a poor black, who is in a society where your grandfather had a respectable, if hardscrabble, life.  Today, there is no honest work.  The factories have gone to China; the mines have closed.  The textile mill ain’t coming back, boys.  You have borderline honest ways of earning a living.  Maybe you work under the table in agriculture, or sell the more benign varieties of drugs.  Imagine how horridly the prospect of welfare would appear to an honest man! “You are so useless to the world that you cannot earn a living, so I will pay you to exist.”  The corollary of this is that the person cutting the check (though not earning the money) is so useless that he cannot exist without the votes of the people he pays!  Talk about depravity.  It is not the recipient who is truly depraved, but the benefactor.

In the Christian scriptures, at least within the gospels, the most important words are contained within the “Parable of the Talents”, which has monstrously been changed to “Parable of the Bags of Gold” in the more modern translations.  I do not know the history of the new translations (or, more importantly, the background of those who changed the word), but that change has done Christianity and its societies a great disservice.

A “talent” was the Greek word for a bag of gold, so the translation to English is quite literal, though I propose quite wrong.  I am unsure of the precise etymology of “talent” as it means in English, but I cannot imagine it does not have anything to do with the parable.  The parable recounts the story of three servants of a wealthy man.  Each, according to his own ability, was given a number of talents.  One was given five, and was told to with it what he could.  When the master returned the servant delivered five more.  Another was given three.  He, again, doubled his talents.  The third was given but one, which he buried in the ground, it not even earning interest or he even acknowledging it.  The first two were greatly rewarded; the last was punished severely.  The moral of this story is that all are given something with which to make their way (and the way of the world better); those who choose not to use it are wicked, and those who do use are reward.  It is my sincere belief that the difference in modern English in “talent” and “bag of gold” is blindingly obvious.  Perhaps not sincere belief, but sincere hope.

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Cmoledor 1k posts, incept 2021-04-13
2022-07-31 08:17:01

Well done. I myself am guilty of wasting my talents. To be honest. Guess I should get on that. I get your point

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The whole world is one big fucking scam
Why are you giving a vulgarity warning here? Our genial host is an advocate of both skullfucking and sodomy via rusty chainsaw. Credit to Rollformer
Flappingeagle 4k posts, incept 2011-04-14
2022-07-31 08:17:08

Well done Benjamin King or whoever you are in real life.

Quote:
We can see this dynamic at play in American society. Unhinged immigration from third-world countries. Not because we need them, but because we feel sorry for them. The Social welfare payments that have destroyed the white poor in trailer parks and the black poor in ghettoes. Ayn Rand, in her writing, warned of the dangers of altruism. I read her extensively in college, but I never quite got what she meant. Today, having just now googled the meaning of the word, I do. The google definition is: the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.

The issue with altruism, which I had always lauded as virtue, is not the concern for the well-being of others. I have always been concerned for the well-being of others, occasionally selflessly, but never with disinterest. The issue is the disinterest!


On these pages before I have stated that we have an obligation to create a society where there are meaningful jobs for those in the bottom half of our society. People have also responded by in essence saying "I don't owe anyone a damn thing." Yes you do.

Why do you think the parable of the talents is in the Bible? I'll give you a hint, it is a much for your own good as it is for the good of others.

Out host in a recent post writes about bringing production back from China. Doing so would ameliorate a whole host of problems while weakening a regime obviously consumed with ill-will for the rest of the planet.

Benjamin King writes: Foolishness everywhere. Talk about putting the bottom line up top! The whole missive is about foolishness. Foolishness like moving the bottom-half's jobs to China.

Let me talk about another Foolishness. The foolishness that the top-half of a pyramid can exist without the bottom-half to hold it up! When the bottom half-half does not have decent jobs, the support for the top-half rots away and yes, rot is the appropriate word.

One last comment/point. In about an hour, I will be loading up my family and driving them to church. When church attendance goes down; well, look around to see what goes up...

Flap

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Here are my predictions for everyone to see:
S&P 500 at 320, DOW at 2200, Gold $300/oz, and Corn $2/bu.
No sign that housing, equities, or farmland are in a bubble- Yellen 11/14/13
Trying to leave the Rat Race to the rats...
Prof_dilligaf 348 posts, incept 2021-09-02
2022-07-31 08:17:33

"The standard procedure for depressed youth is to give antidepressants, SSRIs. These drugs, as Karl has mentioned many times before, carry a Black Box Warning for suicide in those below a certain age. I do not know if the actual mechanism, but to people they suspect may have bipolar disorder, as they can make those people manic."

Hey, guess what? The "neurochemical imbalances cause depression" is another "medical fact" that has proven to be another pile of utter bullshit without a shred of proof. Think about that: the Scientologists were correct while the self-righteous "scientists" were completely wrong. Again.

As for "psychiatrists are very careful when prescribing antidepressants", no, they most certainly are not, definitely not any more careful than the rest of the highly-educated doctors about slingin' pills at any complaint their ATMs, pardon me, "patients" may have. The kids who aren't on Ritalin are on Prozac or whatever "Selective" Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor has the best profit profile at the moment. The effects must be really awesome when teen and early-20s women mix antidepressants, birth control and now the vex. No wonder they seems so miserable!

Also makes you wonder, just how dumbed down has the curriculum become even in fucking MEDICAL school?
Tickerguy 186k posts, incept 2007-06-26
2022-07-31 08:18:32

Don't get me started on psychiatrists. If there is a profession that 99% of should be slowly flayed with Xacto knives, its them.

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The law of scoreboards is not subject to repeal.
Fuck around and find out.
New business: Karl's Guillotine sales and repair; you slice 'em, we dice 'em.
Boredfree 492 posts, incept 2021-09-15
2022-07-31 08:20:03

Well said.

Two thumbs up.


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The problem is most people want to point a finger rather than their thumb when dealing with challenges.
Whitehat 9k posts, incept 2017-06-27
2022-07-31 08:24:37

This is one of the best pieces ever submitted to this blog.

Really liked, "The Constitution guarantees a right to silence. At times, the laws of nature demand an obligation to speak."

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smiley Je souhaite
Shadowmask 3k posts, incept 2021-05-24
2022-07-31 08:33:56

The deadly sin of pride means you are not sharing your gifts with the world. God wants us to share our talents.

Thanks for writing this, Benjamin.
Kolya02 28 posts, incept 2021-08-20
2022-07-31 08:41:13

Thankful for this thought-provoking email, and glad KD shared it. I was born a few years later and also selected for the "TAG" (Talented and Gifted) program, so I know exactly which puzzles and extras library time the writer is speaking of. No idea how I was selected, but I thought it was on the basis of solving puzzles and not an IQ test. This TAG program gave my dad some relief that I was receiving quality education even though he couldn't afford private school, but the OP is absolutely right: they had no clue what they were doing. Add in busing to undo the self-segregation, by placing these "good" public schools in the ghetto areas to draw in the suburbanites' children, and you had a recipe for disaster.

That the Ivory Tower essentially tested its theses on actual students, creating great emotional adult strife for the Black kids in TAG who were mercilessly labeled as 'acting White' by their ghetto peers, is a reflection on how little 'we' mean to our technocrat, bureaucrat betters. We are all just test subjects for TPTB as they tinker with humanity, chasing a Utopia that leaves them fat and happy and the rest of us scrounging for scraps.

Who else out there born in the late 70s and early 80s had these "gifted" schools and busing "solutions" in their childhoods?
Tonythetiger 654 posts, incept 2019-01-27
2022-07-31 08:59:52


An excellent contribution which illuminates a key contributor to many of our current problems.

Modern society has fallen so far that complete strangers now expect, and demand, to be given one of the bags of gold earned by the productive servants.

Indeed, one can rightfully argue that such a change in expectations by too many in the populace contributes greatly to our problems.

In our grandparent's day life was hard. People were thankful to have food on the table every day, even if it meant working yourself half to death to provide it. Quite the contrast to those of today whose expectations are for nothing less than the best, and who, if it isn't provided right away, commence with hysterics knowing that "alturism" in government will provide for them at the expense of others.







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"War is when the Government tells you who the bad guy is. Revolution is when you decide that for yourself." - Benjamin Franklin
Tonythetiger 654 posts, incept 2019-01-27
2022-07-31 09:19:02


Kolya02 wrote..
Who else out there born in the late 70s and early 80s had these "gifted" schools and busing "solutions" in their childhoods?

I was born in 1961. When I reached 7th grade the school had just begun the 'new' self-teaching method for math. All the instruction for 7th and 8th grade math was done via self-paced lessons. Each student got the lesson material, read through it, then completed a multiple choice quiz. If you passed the quiz you moved on to the next lesson. The teacher was available to help if students got 'stuck' on any particular point.

Well, math has always been reasonably easy for me. I completed both 7th and 8th grade math before the 7th grade term was done. Several others completed both years' material as well. (this would be the early 70s)

When our class progressed to 8th grade, those of us who completed both years of math were moved into the 9th grade math class (algebra). Each year we took the math class one year ahead of our grade (trigonometry, pre-calculus). As seniors, we were allowed to take calculus classes at the junior college across town.

It was a good system. Minimal overhead for the school as no special classes were required. We didn't earn any 'Gifted' degree, but we learned the material and it served me well in college. Having been through two semesters of calculus, I could breeze through my freshman calculus class material and that gave me extra time to spend on less familiar classes in my engineering curriculum (chemistry in particular).

The entire concept of "Gifted" classes seemed odd to me. A lot of overhead work to support the approach of different classes, when you could get roughly the same result simply by selectively promoting students to the next years' material. (this is where the younger folk tell me "OK Boomer")

Lots of effort seems to be spent on emphasizing the labels rather than delivering better skills, IMHO.





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"War is when the Government tells you who the bad guy is. Revolution is when you decide that for yourself." - Benjamin Franklin
Clannaboy 6 posts, incept 2018-10-07
2022-07-31 09:54:04

Selfless concern for the well-being of others...

Service to others fulfills the needs of connection and significance. It is part of many religious schools' curriculum, but it has mostly disappeared from the public school program of study.

Eliminating connection and, more importantly, significance puts aberrant behaviors into play. Why not? I don't matter in the "normal" world. Watch me matter now.

We shouldn't be surprised when we see those behaviors after filling the void with despair, drugs, ridicule, and/or pity.
Blackcrow 187 posts, incept 2021-04-04
2022-07-31 12:11:59

"More important than what we choose not to do is what we choose to do, and why. When we go through our lives, we must consciously think of these matters."

And there is the problem right there: Choice and using your thinking rational mind.

Our "choices" are increasingly dictated to us by our educational system, social media, marketing and our governments as our minds are purposely dulled by incessant programming to obey and conform from these very same entities.

The goal, whether it is a feature or a bug, is to reduce most of humanity to atomized programmable meat puppets stoking the global machine for the benefit of the elites and the Beautiful People.

This covid response is merely the latest iteration of it.

Choosing good over evil, using your thinking rational mind, standing up to the maddening crowd, are the only path forward for our species and our society. Sadly it requires effort, bravery and willingness to sacrifice for a long tern goal - qualities in vanishing supply.



Winder 125 posts, incept 2016-02-15
2022-07-31 12:12:21

@Tonythetiger

I was born in 59. Same system at my junior high, 7 th grade. At the start of the year, you took a test and they placed you at some spot in the curriculum. For me and maybe 3 or 4 others, we needed only a few lessons to complete the year. Knocked those out in a couple of weeks and spent the rest of the semester playing cards in the library. What a waste. Math, language arts, spelling all this way.

And no, Im not a brainiac like Karl.
Metalqueen 145 posts, incept 2021-09-10
2022-07-31 12:20:34

I was placed in the TAG program in starting in elementary school, late 70s. There was not any of the self guided math, but it was an accelerated track of subjects, which would include trigonometry and calculus in high school. It also included eligibility for AP classes Junior and Senior years (a good deal as they could go toward college credit with no extra expense-this was a public school system still fairly good at the time).

The problem was I was still mostly bored. The school system worked for the studious types and the ambitious types but not the creative types. The pre-college guidance counseling was basically nonexistent. The only classes that I was engaged with were AP History (it actually provided a warts and all look at it) and French. I spent a lot of time doodling in my notebooks. I had no idea upon graduation what I wanted to do except get away from home.

And this was when things were reasonably functional. I dont know how you could possibly fix it now. And no, a religious based education would have NOT worked for me as I always had a problem with rules, and homeschooling even worse as it would have increased the level of isolation I already felt.

Oh and the best advice I got at the time was from an album I borrowed from the local library The Mothers of Invention Freak Out

Quote:
Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you have any guts


I didnt quite get the music on that album then (I definitely do now) but the advice I am glad I took to heart.

smiley
Tsteve 13 posts, incept 2018-07-22
2022-07-31 14:06:04

Fantastic post. The discussion about altriusm is really key to many of this country's woes at this time.

Ayn Rand, in her writing, warned of the dangers of altruism. I read her extensively in college, but I never quite got what she meant. Today, having just now googled the meaning of the word, I do. The google definition is: the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.

The issue with altruism, which I had always lauded as virtue, is not the concern for the well-being of others. I have always been concerned for the well-being of others, occasionally selflessly, but never with disinterest. The issue is the disinterest!


Smokeyblonde13 205 posts, incept 2021-10-29
2022-07-31 15:07:25

Just... wow. Took me a few hours to read through this at is resonated strongly with me.

Quote:
It is an experience that haunts me, albeit in a good way, to this day. What was virtuous in these interactions is not the cigarettes. It is not the money I gave him for the motel. I gave them something few others will give those of lower station in life: the time of day. To call to mind the brilliant Pink Floyd song On the Turning Away, I did not turn away. The poor need those in higher places (though mine at this time is not much higher) simply to acknowledge them. Take an interest. Dont take moral judgement on them (or at least not say Youre homeless because you are bad.)


I work in an urban area and the homeless/indigent are everywhere, so I have extensive experience with this, and a strikingly similar story. And I whole-heartedly agree that many homeless/indigent just want to be seen as regular people, not as charity. Requests for food or money or even a cig only occurs about 1/3 of the time I interact with them.

Through my own stupid actions, I could easily be on the other side of the conversation; I am extremely blessed and damn lucky that I'm not. And I promise God I will never forget that or take it for granted and never, ever forget how thin the line is between "us" and "them" and treat everyone like a human with value.
Smokeyblonde13 205 posts, incept 2021-10-29
2022-07-31 15:07:44

@Tonythetiger Born in 1970 and my experience was the exact same as yours, except my talent was reading/writing and science while math was my albatross. So advanced lit/writing and science classes and nearly remedial math (not sure how that worked; but math made more sense to me in science than plain ol' math).

Maybe I'm romanticizing my youth, but I don't recall anyone ever being mocked or made fun of for advanced classes or "slower" classes; it just what it was. Or maybe my penchant for beating up bullies made them keep their silence in my presence. smiley

Veeger 543 posts, incept 2013-02-13
2022-07-31 18:44:57

Growing up, our school essentially divided everyone into the white collar potential, blue collar potential and the 'well, they gotta get through somehow but we don't have much hope for 'em' divisions. Part was based on your address, part on your presumed resources and part, well, I have no idea. I was put into the 'white collar/college bound' group. It was done somewhere between K-3rd grade stage. Dunno how they determined this, but I suspect it may have been address. (I was in one of those new-fangled, SFH developments that was encroaching on the pasture land)


But wrt the Sickness. It's certainly plain to see that 'something' is affecting a wide swath of the Western World. Personally, I see it as somewhat of a confirmation of what I might call a Biblical world view. (not a religious one necessarily) It is reasonable to associate what we're seeing (and what is being seen even by the non religious/ non Biblical amongst us) might be the expected outcome of spiritual warfare and collective avoidance of dealing with God. Others might attribute it to worldwide communications and social media being so prevalent.

However, the uniformity of what is essentially global (ok, at least 1st world however you define it) coupled with the speed and lockstep of control is what tips it toward the supernatural realm for me. Human beings aren't that smart, nor that coordinated, or that quick short of a supernatural influence. The mechanism is invisible, the results are self evident to anyone who is looking.

Humans can be pretty 'sick' apart from God and yes, many can invoke God and thereby taint the concept of God but if Evil exists and is evident, then I believe that Evil can be one of the stronger evidences of God. Not that God is evil but that there is an Opposition. YMMV.

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I remember the Diamond Princess.


Slowly at first, then all of a sudden.
Chemman 240 posts, incept 2021-05-03
2022-07-31 18:46:03

The moral of this story is that all are given something with which to make their way (and the way of the world better).

That is a much more consistent interpretation of the parable of the talents than just the modern healthy, wealthy and wise dogma.
Flappingeagle 4k posts, incept 2011-04-14
2022-07-31 18:46:14

Is there a theme here?

Save everyone from COVID, its an emergency.
Save the Climate, its an emergency.
Save the Refugees, its an emergency.
Save Ukraine, its an emergency.

Is there a pattern? I think there may be but I can't see it.

Flap


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Here are my predictions for everyone to see:
S&P 500 at 320, DOW at 2200, Gold $300/oz, and Corn $2/bu.
No sign that housing, equities, or farmland are in a bubble- Yellen 11/14/13
Trying to leave the Rat Race to the rats...
Striped-pad 151 posts, incept 2009-03-15
2022-07-31 18:46:22

Benjamin - good suggestion for how to deal with the homeless, and when to offer money. I was in Manchester, England one time, and someone begging on a doorstep asked me for money. I got him food instead, but also stopped to have a chat with him. Nice conversation, and it turned out we both came from the same city originally, but he'd moved out because criminal gangs were getting dangerous and threatening people with guns. (I'd moved for work).

One thing that stood out for me was how little we were noticed by the people walking by.
Joancrawford 302 posts, incept 2013-10-14
2022-07-31 18:46:34

As long as we're digging up ancient history, I was born in '63. I was never particularly bright. The nuns were always extremely disappointed as well as bewildered that I didn't have a quick, mathematics inclined mind as my eldest brother. It seemed with everything, I struggled. Maybe just dumb-it happens.

HOWEVER, I survived the system, and for what it's worth, managed to secure a bachelor's and master's degree. Don't ask me why/if that's important-it isn't.

What I DID learn after all that desk sitting time, was HOW TO THINK! It's served me well over the years. One need not by bright, but knowing how to disect an argument, and counter it, with relative ease, for me is the hallmark of an educated person. We, in my opinion, are in a small minority in America.

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Don't f*ck with me fellas! This ain't my first time at the rodeo.

America-it was a good run while it lasted. RIP!
Kikknback 1k posts, incept 2020-03-17
2022-07-31 20:28:33

Benjamin King wrote..
The fundamental sickness in our society is a moral deficiency. It is present in society at all levels, but the vast majority of the guilt of a morally bankrupt society lies not with the average members; it lies with the leaders who brought it on. Additional guilt belongs to those who stood idly by. Those who could have done something and did nothing. The Constitution guarantees a right to silence. At times, the laws of nature demand an obligation to speak.

Good job, sir.

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"The most grotesque act of Treason is to be born into a free Constitutional Republic, for which you did not risk your life or shed blood to create, and sit back and watch it slowly be taken from you without standing up in its defense" - me

"True Freedom can never exist, unless true Rule of LAW exists" - me
Ramrod1776 11 posts, incept 2014-08-15
2022-07-31 20:28:51

The OP obviously thinks about our proper place in the universe and our responsibility to our fellows, these are among our most important questions BUT....the real question for me is why Karl decided this essay deserved space here? Yes, folks I'm wearing my psychoanalyst hat today and getting nowhere. The man is an enigma. A mystery wrapped in a secret.

BTW, I think that definition of altruism is crappy. It appears to be generated by an algorithm....the inclusion of the word "disinterested" is just plain wrong. No altruism is ever conducted by a disinterested person!
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